CDFW Can Temporarily Delay, Restrict or Suspend Fisheries Where Needed

California Fish and Game Commission Meets Remotely, Allows CDFW to Temporarily Delay, Restrict or Suspend Fisheries Where Needed to Prevent the Spread of Coronavirus

April 15, 2020 by kmacinty, posted in Enforcement, Fisheries, Fishing (Sport), Law Enforcement, Public Participation, Regulations

On the first day of its April remote meeting, the California Fish and Game Commission revised its agenda and took up the ability for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to temporarily delay, suspend or restrict recreational fishing if the director of CDFW, in consultation with the president of the Commission, finds that such action is necessary to protect against the threat from COVID-19 based on state, federal, local, and tribal public health guidance and public safety needs.

The Commission voted unanimously to grant that ability, temporarily, in order to prevent and mitigate public health risks that may arise when people travel or congregate for fishing events. This is designed to be responsive to local county level and tribal needs, like the requests CDFW and the Commission received from Alpine, Inyo and Mono counties to delay the April 25 Eastern Sierra trout opener. The temporary authority expires May 31, 2020.

“I understand Californians desperately need the outdoors for solace, reinvigoration and spirituality, especially so right now,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “The proposal was never about a statewide permanent closure. It is about being responsive to local needs in this public health emergency, where we must do all we can as Californians to help each other make it through this together. We intend to use this authority surgically and based on local needs and knowledge.”

“Governor Newsom recently said we expect a mid-May peak of COVID-19 and we must prepare for that surge,” said Commission President Eric Sklar. “Today’s decision is a smart and responsible approach to be ready. It does not delay or restrict specific fisheries or waters, but rather prepares us to expeditiously do so if needed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”

Commission President Sklar, Commission Vice President Samantha Murray, and Commissioners Jacque Hostler-Carmesin, Russell Burns and Peter Silva participated in the call.

The Commission will continue its remote meeting tomorrow by phone. The remaining agenda can be found at More information can be found on the Commission website.


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21 Responses to CDFW Can Temporarily Delay, Restrict or Suspend Fisheries Where Needed

  1. Brett April 21, 2020 at 3:53 pm #

    1) Anyone medically transported out of the area is going to do so thru local hospital care, putting our providers at risk; Including hospital, EMT’s, Lifeflight, and potentially law enforcement personnel.
    2) As a low population, rural community, that often struggles to attract and retain qualified medical personnel, especially board certified medical specialists, a sick practioneer may be the only local provider in a specific medical speciality. The loss of which could force others to travel out of the area for their care.
    3) Not sure what the local citizenry rate is for carrying medical insurance, but I would guess there are many living here who have little to zero coverage. The last Lifeflight I know of to Reno cost right around a quarter of a million dollars. I can imagine what it costs to be on a ventilator for three weeks in an ICU, but I really don’t want to find out.
    4) Saying the state politicians got it wrong, is equivalent to saying TB, Measles, the plague isn’t all that bad… ignoring the effective historic benefits of antibiotics and vaccination. The governor, and county and city decision makers, correctly sought the opinion of, and more importantly, listened to infectious disease experts from some of the top universities and research institutes in the country. Without an effective vaccine or medical treatment against a singular disease organism, the only effective mitigation measure possible to them, was physical isolation. Geographic isolation pretty much doesn’t exist any longer, just the fact that this virus has reached the remote populations living in the Amazon Basin verifies that fact. We could have been in New York’s situation, approximately a little less than1/3 of the total cases in the country as a whole: 250,000 with near 19,000 deaths. And we easily could still get there. The disease got to the U.S. by plane/ship… it’s easy to see the serious local possibilities if thousands of people show up in Inyo/Mono. The undercount (latest estimate) of those infected in S. Cal is on the order of a factor of 55x, and 85x for Marin County – Bay Area. The numbers are still rising in our state, and no, this isn’t anything close to a normal seasonal flu at least potentially; again, just look at New York…you don’t see that% of fatalities happening every few years from a normal flu…their medical community has struggled seriously to manage this, they have lost many on the front lines…this is anything but normal.

  2. Inyo Citizen April 21, 2020 at 9:29 am #

    LOL Constitutional scholars all over this place. The things you would learn if you actually understood how those words on those pages are implemented in times of war (and now pandemics)…

  3. IP April 19, 2020 at 8:55 am #

    Ultimately this is not a fishing problem, but a person problem- if you ban fishing, people from SoCal and the Bay area will still come rock climb/bike/”social distance”. It will not fix the problem. It sounds like the Northern CA counties have been able to enforce the non-essential travel ban- if you are unhappy with Mono or Inyo County Sheriffs/Supervisor have been unable to restrict non-residents the way Plumas/Sierra/Shasta were able to do, maybe you should vote for different county leaders.

  4. Liberty April 19, 2020 at 8:03 am #

    The article on is a good starting point. This is the Stanford study. What it shows if the study testing is confirmed as valid is that many have been infected with the virus and are not symptomatic and the infection is producing herd immunity. As seen with most new viruses, proof are the large numbers who are testing positive but have recovered or never had symptoms in the study. This virus wave obviously occurred prior to the testing. The earliest transmission of the virus has to have been sometime in Nov. to early December of 2019. With all of the international flights coming out of China into Cal, thousands of people a day, the transmission would first be near the international airports in that time frame and then slowly start spreading out. The obvious conclusion is the exposure has likely already occurred to a majority in the country and they didn’t have an adverse reaction to the pathogen. The recovered are now the immunity of the herd which is building as time goes on and this virus dies out. So instead of panic laws and regulations and fear, people will be far better served to study the science of a new virus. Common sense should prevail. Shutting down the economy has to be reversed and mitigation used instead of panic especially by politicians.

    • Stop non-essential travel April 20, 2020 at 8:16 pm #

      Liberty, I replied to your post yesterday, but it’s not showing up so I’m again responding (abbreviated version!). Anyway, thank you for the link, I took a look at that (and Bryan, I’m not angry and I didn’t say anything about the study being non-existent, I said it wasn’t in the literature, and it isn’t; unpublished articles don’t appear in medical literature until peer review is completed and an article is deemed worthy of publication). Anyway, yes, we know there are asymptomatic carriers, yes, we know that people who have caught the virus and recovered are (likely) carrying antibodies. However, it is NOT known definitively that the antibodies confer immunity to an individual carrier, so we can’t assume that herd immunity is taking place. This is one of the big unknowns related to this virus. The other problem of course is that PCR testing is not available on a community basis, yet, so we can’t test people for antibody status. Still too many unknowns at this time. I definitely agree, it is far better to study this as much as possible, but I continue to argue that in smaller communities like Bishop and Mammoth, we remain at higher risk to a loss of medical management if our numbers trend upward; even small numbers of critically ill patients will be devastating. We can likely keep infection patterns lower if we continue to reduce unnecessary population influx.

  5. Liberty April 18, 2020 at 8:01 am #

    The problem is you can’t close tourists off from travel or local residents for that matter traveling and bringing the virus back with them, it’s against this thing called the Constitution, both the state and the federal and each have priority over the Fish and Game Commission and local health officer orders. The state may not get this into law soon enough because they waited until the last minute and there is a legal process. This virus, from recent testing in Santa Clara county, emerged at a previous time likely last fall and many are testing positive without symptoms which would be expected. People sick with the virus wouldn’t be expected to be out traveling to go fishing to begin with. It’s also expected that the Inyo/Mono counties cases are from locals traveling as it was with Alpine county. The panic is what should be rejected. I did hear a call during the meeting from someone in S. Inyo, he said the early trout season has been open there since March without any problems and he opposed the new regulation proposal as did several other local callers and business owners and some who asked for a locals exemption which was denied. Other areas of the state are not closing or delaying trout season and are mitigating by keeping most services closed as would be expected. With a few hundred miles of road on 395 south to north, there is some room for people to spread out without problems on lands that are public and these should remain open for public use.

    • Stop non-essential travel April 18, 2020 at 5:14 pm #

      Liberty, you are right that people can’t be denied going wherever they want during this pandemic, however, asking people to be socially and morally responsible is not unconstitutional. You are missing (or ignoring?) the fact that, asymptomatic spread is a huge problem and this is the reason for shutting down potentials for and for asking people to consider, for even just a nanosecond, the limitations Inyo and Mono counties have to medically care for those who become critically ill. You are simply wrong about “people testing positive without symptoms….” because ASYMPTOMATIC PEOPLE ARE NOT BEING TESTED. Please cite your resource regarding “recent testing in Santa Clara county” which would provide ANY confirmation that people have been carriers since last Fall. It’s interesting that nowhere in the medical literature regarding Covid-19 this is to be found.

      • Bryan April 19, 2020 at 1:13 am #

        That study you think doesn’t exist, came from Stanford and has been widely reported. It is currently under peer review where it is likely to change a little, but I’d bet you their thesis stands up. Stop getting angry with people who disagree with you. This is an extremely complex subject and what we were told is nowhere near what is actually happening. Mass exposure is as good of an explanation as social distancing for that.

  6. David Dennison April 17, 2020 at 9:07 pm #

    Mono Person
    Are you also a BETTING person ?
    If so,how much do you want to bet,6 days from now,the Eastern Sierra fishing season will be a go,all the now-closed campgrounds,motels and short-term rentals will be open and filled with occupants,Friday afternoon and evening HWY 395 will be alive again with thousands of cars,campers,trucks and trailers,RV’s and 20,000 people on their way up to the upper Owens and Mono Counties to line the creeks and lakes with fishermen and women for opening day ?
    I say it ain’t a gonna happen.
    If you want to take that bet,leave a reply and we’ll sort out how to arrange it and for how much $$$.

    • Mono Person April 18, 2020 at 7:29 am #

      Why is it, that thousands of people are going to come up here and just spread viruses everywhere. How about maybe 500, show up to fish far apart, which they usually do? We already have a lot of people bugging out and camping wherever. What is the difference? Calm down and think rationally.

      The usual commenters get so upset if you have a differing opinion and do not walk step lock with what our government is telling us.

      • David Dennison April 18, 2020 at 4:58 pm #

        Mono Person
        Just out of curiosity,how would you “pick ” the 500 out of 25,000 wanting to come up here,and how would it be controlled ? If they got to # 500 on the white and blue RV,would it mean #501,being Grandma in the back seat would have to hitch hike back home ?
        Would the California Government also pick the campgrounds,motels, and restaurants to be opened and which ones stay closed ?
        Who would try to enforce the “social distance ” order for those lucky 500,or would they be split up and designated where and where they couldn’t go ?
        Did you see the photos on Saturday morning when Jacksonville,Florida opened up their beaches again,with the distancing orders still in place,and how all those tourists handled and obeyed the order ?….not.
        I was once fishing a spot on Lee Vining Creek with no one around in the evening,so nice,and was fortunate enough to catch 4 nice size Trout in about 10 minutes,and I swear,if I didn’t know better,you’d think one of those local 12 P.M. fire alarms went off alerting others to my good luck and where I was,within minutes,3 trucks with Orange County Construction logos on the doors and about 15 loud mouth people pouring out,fishermen and women,screaming kids,Dogs running off leash and barking…total chaos.
        Let’s face it,the ONLY answer is to postpone the opener until things are safer.
        And it’s not “our Government” really telling us much of anything,at least worthwhile or believable.”our Government” is California Government,not Federal,unless you want to hear about “border walls”, tariffs and trade deals at those “task force briefings”..
        It seems to me most people in our Counties are listening to the advise the STATE Government is suggesting.
        And time for people to use their OWN common sense with this too.

        • Mono Person April 19, 2020 at 8:44 am #

          That is the point!! I don’t know, you don’t know. But you like your “fantastic” stories, for the basis of you opinion. I have a different view, and it doesn’t make it “wrong”.

  7. Mono Person April 17, 2020 at 6:40 pm #

    Fishing season has NOT been postponed. Read the directive.

  8. David Dennison April 17, 2020 at 5:50 pm #

    Your above post,looks like a lot of “Who shot John” to me.
    There would’ve been very few “solitary” areas to fish the Eastern Sierra on opening day.Not to mention the packed campgrounds and campsites,and if some had their way,the busy restaurants and taverns,people telling their fish stories at night.
    Not a single small business owner I know here in the Owens Valley,including tackle shop owners oppose this delay to the fishing season.
    Then you say it was the Politicians and the “locals” that were only “allowed” to participate in the discussions.
    Well,yeah !!
    It’s not up to out-of-area residents what THEY want, to voice their opinion on what WE living here want and should be able to do,as far as voicing our opinion. Maybe you don’t care if others bring the COVID-19 to the Owens and Mono Counties,but we do.
    No different than if some of the SoCal Counties had dodged the bullet and avoided mass positive COVID-19 positive tests and deaths,but our Counties were the ones that were having the problem.Would you want 25,000 + of our population going down there and camping out and partying in your area,regardless if things were open or not ?.It wouldn’t and shouldn’t be up to us if we did that or not.It would and should be up to those living in the area.
    It isn’t “time to open up the economy state-wide”.It’s still a ways off,at least another month.
    This isn’t a “flu season ” we’re dealing with.
    IMO,we up here are dealing with things rather well,obeying the “distancing ” rules,etc.,and why so few positive cases of the pandemic.
    We don’t want to throw it all away because a bunch of visitors can’t wait, like we too have to do.With us it’s hurting our County economy,effecting all of us living here..For them,all it’s doing is hurting their feelings and cancelling their plans.

  9. Liberty April 17, 2020 at 10:44 am #

    The small rural counties in the northern Sierra and Nevada are not panic stricken and are not closing trout season even “temporarily.” They know fishing can be safe and solitary and being out in nature is positive. The order also doesn’t stop tourists from pouring in for other activities. The real problem with this order, not only the focus on fishing and excluding all other groups, is it was written far too broadly to be invoked anywhere by an agency that was not responsive to the citizens who called in and opposed it. Politicians were placed ahead of the people that called in and locals were not exempted from this ban. It is common knowledge that the people in these three rural counties use the state of Nevada frequently and travel there for their shopping and Medical, as well as Kern County, that’s the way it’s always been and saying visitors would take over the scarce medical EMS is hogwash. If they were this concerned the order of the counties would ban travel out of the counties for fear of infection. Also, most of those who called in from government aren’t worrying about their income. The virus will continue to decline and the outdoors and public lands should remain open. The rural government officials and government at all levels should stop the panic routine now as the numbers so far equal only a typical bad flu season seen every year or two. Time to re-open the economy state-wide.

    • Mono Person April 17, 2020 at 11:47 am #

      Thank you!!! Common sense is so rare!

    • eric h. April 17, 2020 at 5:06 pm #

      There is a ban on our traveling outside our counties, it’s called shelter in place. I’ve had to go to Carson City a couple of times for doctor’s appointments and made no other stops besides the appt.. I’m curious about your experience medically since your views are not held by any experts that I have heard from so far.

    • Stop non-essential travel April 18, 2020 at 9:22 am #

      What is it about “NON-ESSENTIAL TRAVEL” do people not understand? There is, and has been, a state-wide ban on NON-ESSENTIAL TRAVEL for the past month, and it is presently ongoing until further notice. Yes, residents of Inyo/Mono counties do need to travel OUT of the area for some medical services, and this may be considered ESSENTIAL travel; that determination is made by the medical provider and the patient. Travel into Inyo or Mono counties for fishing, climbing, skiing, camping, etc, is NON-ESSENTIAL. Inyo and Mono counties continue to report positive cases, more this week than in the past two weeks, and yes, some of these cases ARE requiring hospitalization.

      • Bryan April 19, 2020 at 12:56 am #

        Who decides what is essential and what is not? Because right now, the parks, lakes, deserts, and forest are closed. But I can go buy a bottle of whisky and a joint at the local store, grab my clubs and go play golf… Does that make sense?

  10. Art La Cues April 15, 2020 at 7:25 pm #

    The Commission is showing good common horse sense! We don’t want unnecessary travel during this pandemic. Stay home and wait it out.

    • Bryan April 19, 2020 at 3:05 am #

      I see many of you agree with this. I don’t understand why. What does wait it out mean? There will never be a no risk outcome. All hospitals are green and casualties are much much lower than expected. Why, under these conditions, be stuck in our houses? It seems to me that the shut down and stay at home order is much worse for society than the virus.


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